Graveyard Shift Horrifying Examples Of Abyssal Gigantism  

Colleen Conroy
6.8k votes 1.4k voters 76.8k views 16 items

List Rules Vote up the creatures you wouldn't want to see on your next trip to the beach.

Science and lore collide when it comes to imagining what kind of creatures lurk in the deepest, darkest reaches of the sea. Some of the world's underwater trenches may as well be outer space - we've made more expeditions to the moon than the ocean floor.

In so-called deep-sea gigantism, or abyssal gigantism, scientists have discovered abnormally large organisms living peacefully at depths of anywhere from 1,000 to 36,000 feet. To gather information about abyssal gigantism, researchers gleaned studies of the washed-up carcasses of these ghastly creatures, which include colossal squids reaching 50 feet in length, as well as huge deep-sea-dwelling invertebrates, such as the giant isopod

Typically, organisms adapt to such depths by becoming smaller, but scientists have a few theories behind the cause of deep-sea gigantism. These organisms mostly comprise water, so there's little risk of being crushed by deep-sea pressure. One theory known as Kleiber's Rule says the larger the animal, the slower its metabolism, which makes sense for deep-sea creatures with a scarce food supply.

Another theory is Bergman's Rule, which states larger creatures are typically found in colder environments. It's another method of efficiency - bigger animals radiate less heat per unit of mass, so they're able to stay warmer in cool climates.

Scientists have yet to form conclusive statements about the cause of this phenomenon. So most deep-sea creatures live on as some of the ocean's creepiest mysteries.

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This Japanese Spider Crab's Legs Are 12 Feet Long

Japanese spider crab is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Horrifying Examples Of Abyssal Gigantism
Photo:  Popular Science Magazine, jun. 1920/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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An Abyssal Versus An Average-Sized Japanese Spider Crab

An Abyssal Versus An Average-S... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Horrifying Examples Of Abyssal Gigantism
Photo:  Stefano Stabile/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
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This Giant Squid In The Smithsonian Is Definitely Taller Than You

This Giant Squid In The Smiths... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Horrifying Examples Of Abyssal Gigantism
Photo:  Curious Expeditions/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
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This Giant Deep-Sea Isopod Takes Horrifying To The Next Level

This Giant Deep-Sea Isopod Tak... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Horrifying Examples Of Abyssal Gigantism
Photo:  NOAA/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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